The Figures were the work, but I tried to put them into a “context” full of images, shapes and colors, and it was all crap. I surrounded my Figures with crap. I got lost in all that crap. The Figures were the best part, but I couldn’t see it at the time.
Looking back on my 1989 BFA Figures, I can see that my inability to speak out caused me to hide my little figures in those big paintings. It was marvelous the way I created the initial BFA Figures, painting them in such a spontaneous manner. But now I can see how their expression is tempered, their faces anonymous.
Tiny Figures, chaotic environment.
Some of the BFA Figures were leaping and dancing.
But many of them ended up looking like they were being tossed around by unseen forces. I felt like this often in my 20s.
Is she dancing or losing her balance?
Some of the BFA Figures were despondent, others flinching or fleeing.
This one is my most curious, yet telling Figure. She’s fleeing, hand thrust up, Anger in Red is coming off her head. She can only express her anger in a passive way, as she is running away. Like she flipped someone off, then fled. This image sums up me in my 20s.
I have no idea about Diving Woman. Just something I came up with.
My use of Color was arbitrary. I had no feel for color, other than obvious associations like Red for Anger or Blue for Melancholy.
My BFA Portfolio Committee loved this work. But I couldn’t feel good about it because I had resorted to abstract artwork due to lack of skills. I felt like a fraud.
I wrote an Artist’s Statement that was a great big rationalization. I described how I combined elements from past work and together they played off each other and functioned as a mapping of my experience. Blah, blah, blah.
It was suggested that I call a local gallery in Atlanta. I did not call any galleries. I took my paintings home and collapsed. I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May of 1989. By July I was in my next Shit Office Job, on campus, in a department in the College of Business.